The church of San Isidro el Real, also known as the Colegiata or Collegiate Church of San Isidore, is a Baroque church in the centre of Madrid, Spain. It is named after and holds the remains of the patron saint of Madrid, Isidore the Laborer and his wife Santa María de la Cabeza.
The temple is due to a design by the architect Pedro Sánchez in 1620 . The works, began two years later and they were directed by the architect until his death in 1633. They were later continued by Francisco Bautista and Melchor de Bueras, who finished the construction in 1664. The church replaced the parish of St. Peter and St. Paul (16th century), which was demolished to create the early Imperial College, following the instructions left in her will by Empress Mary of Austria (1528-1608), daughter of Charles I and sister to King Phillip II of Spain. The Empress bequeathed his fortune to the Jesuits Order so that a new building was to be built on the site of the demolished parish church.
The temple was consecrated on 23 September 1651, thirteen years before its completion . It was initially attached to before mentioned Jesuits order and placed under the avocation of St. Francis Xavier, one of the most distinguished Jesuits member and Saint patron of the Catholic Missions . However, in 1767, with the expulsion of the Jesuits, the temple became a collegiate church.
Two years later, in 1769, the temple came under the patronage of Saint Isidro, coinciding with the transfer of the saint's body from the Church of St. Andrew. St. Isidro is the Saint protector of the city of Madrid and his remaining had been guarded since the sixteenth century in the Bishop's Chapel at St. Andrew church. The relics of his wife Saint Mary of the Head were also transferred.
Its interior was then renovated by the famous architect Ventura Rodríguez, who designed a new chancel and high altar, along with a rich decoration.
In 1885, with the establishment of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Madrid, the temple became the pro-cathedral cathedral in this city . The temple held that rank until 1993, when the current Almudena Cathedral was completed and it recovered the collegiate category . In 1936, the building was burned at the very beginning of the Spanish Civil War. The fire destroyed many works of art, including the altarpiece of Ventura Rodríguez, as well as paintings by Luca Giordano Ricci . The fire also caused the collapse of the dome. After the war the temple was restored. The restoration slowly developed over two decades, trying to recover the original features, culminating in the 1960s with the rise of a new section on the towers of the facade by the architect Javier Barroso . A remarkable faithful replica of the high altar of Ventura Rodríguez was also made. As a curious note the restoration of one of the chapels (Our Lady of the Carmen or the Lady of the Sailors chapel) was paid by the British Embassy in Madrid. Therefore, the British coat of arms can be clearly seen over Our Lady altar.
The temple housed, until the completion of the works of the Almudena Cathedral, images of the Virgin, of the St. Isidro and of the Christ of the Good Death, a masterful piece of work by Juan de Mesa, currently located at Almudena Cathedral, also in Madrid.
Media related to Colegiata de San Isidro at Wikimedia Commons